Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

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Location: www.suzannearruda.com, United States

I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at www.twitter.com/SuzanneArruda *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Monday, April 23, 2007

1920'S MEDICAL CARE

I decided this would be a good topic to tackle, especially in light of a grievous slip of the pen in my second book. For those who have read Stalking Ivory, you might have noticed the word “penicillin” in there. It doesn’t belong, as many sharp readers have pointed out. And I know better; after all, I teach biology part-time. That’s probably why it showed up. I had been lecturing on it and antibiotic resistance during the morning, came home, wrote a scene involving a severe injury, and slipped the word in there. I meticulously double check terminology, slang, technology, etc. any anachronism before sending off a manuscript, but this one just slipped by. And I apologize.

So just what DID anyone of Jade’s time do in the case of injury? The most common reference made for treating wounds in the field involves copious amounts of alcohol. Pour it on the wound to clean it, then pour it down the gullet to fortify the victim. If you needed to sew something up or reset a break, pour a little more down to numb the pain. Explorer and filmmaker, Martin Johnson, wrote about treating a feverish East African pioneer in his book, Camera Trails in Africa. John Walsh, a hunter and settler of great fame in the early 1900’s, was assisting the Johnsons on their first trip to Africa. One night he came down with a severe attack of malaria including high fever. Johnson wrote, “we bathed his face and head and dosed him with whisky and quinine from our medicine-case.”

That brings up the second most important item in a first aid kit, quinine. Osa Johnson, wrote in her book, Four Years In Paradise, that a “whopping dose of powdered quinine, Epsom salts, and castor oil” was given to the native Africans in their safari to treat just about any malady. She also mentioned using aspirin on occasion.

So what options did Jade have in Stalking Ivory when Chiumbo was badly hurt? She could have taken a tip from the WWI soldiers and medics and applied pulverized onion as a poultice. Apparently, onions have a lot of sulfur in them which inhibits microbes from growing. Or she could have suggested that he needed powdered up sulfur applied to the wounds. If Chiumbo had been bleeding badly, she might have cauterized the wound. Cauterizing is the use of heat to seer a wound shut, and one of the old tricks in the field was to break open a cartridge, apply the gunpowder to the wound, and light it. But in that case, she should be sure to administer a liberal dose of alcohol to the patient first.

Next week: something surprising and fun

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Monday, April 02, 2007

DANGERS OF BIG GAME PART 3

Perhaps the most dramatic man vs wildlife account took place in June 17, 1921 near Thika as reported by The Leader of British East Africa, June 18th edition. This was not a case of having a ‘tiger by the tail,’ but something far more deadly. Mr. J. J. Klopper, his wife; and two friends, Mr. and Mrs. Bekker, were on a hunting safari, and used oxen to transport their equipment. The oxen must have been a draw for some lions which made their presence known during the night. In the morning, the two men tracked the cats, a male and a female. Mr. Klopper killed the male, and his companion wounded the lioness which ran off.

A wounded animal is often much more dangerous than before, and it is neither safe nor “sporting” to leave such an animal alive. Both of the men tracked the lioness but she surprised them at a ridge and attacked Mr. Klopper, who fell to the ground under the impact. The lioness then went directly for Mr. Klopper’s throat and only his quick thinking saved him from a suffocating bite.

He shoved his knee into the cat’s chest, reached into the lioness’ open maw, and grabbed hold of her tongue. The action saved his throat, but he couldn’t hold on for very long. When the lioness pulled free, she immediately went for his left knee and ripped open his leg. However, her new position allowed Mr. Bekker to fire the killing shot without risk of hitting his companion.

Bekker called for the women to bind up the leg, and they took Mr. Klopper by ox cart to a local farmstead, where the farmer was able to transport Mr. Klopper by automobile to Nairobi’s European hospital. The injured man remained in critical condition for a week, and his leg was amputated. A notice in the June 25th edition of The Leader reported his death from the injuries.

Next week: Medical aid of the time

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